There is not a person in the world who does not enjoy spending time on their deck. Barbecuing, entertaining friends and family, reading a book, or sitting and enjoying nice weather while drinking a cup of tea – these are just some of the things you can do on your deck. But, as the leaves start to change color and you start feeling the chill in the air, all those activities have to stop for a couple of months as you have to protect your deck from the harsh winter.
All homeowners know that protecting the deck is important. You have to protect it from foot traffic, from food and drink spills, and, most importantly, from winter weather conditions. All that ice, snow, sleet, and moisture can take a toll on your deck. Luckily, there is a way to winterize your deck and make sure it survives for years to come and thus boost your home’s value as well. Interested in how to do that? If you are, here are 5 ways to protect your deck this winter.
- Start by Removing Everything from the Deck
First things first, before you start doing any work on your deck, you must remove everything from it. That will make your work easier and, of course, enable you to reach every inch and protect your deck properly.
So, start by removing absolutely everything from your deck – outdoor furniture, pots with plants, tools, toys, pet’s items, or anything you may have lying there. Remove everything! This will ensure you have a clean canvas to work on.
Moreover, do not just randomly store all the items you have on your deck, either. Make sure everything is dry and clean before you put it into a storage unit, or your garage, basement, or attic.
There is a proper way to keep your tools, outdoor furniture, etc. This is necessary if you want to use those items on your deck in the years to come.
- Clean and Scrub the Deck Thoroughly
After removing everything from your deck, it is time to clean and scrub it thoroughly. There is no right or wrong way to do this. All you have to do is wipe away any dirt or debris you have on your deck. Firstly use a broom, then a mop with plain water.
If you have some persistent stains on your deck, use some specialized bleach-free cleaners that will not cause the wood to fade. They can be found in hardware stores or some well-equipped supermarkets. Be careful to pick the cleaner that will protect the wood of your deck while eliminating the stain.
Cleaning and scrubbing the deck should be something you do every month, not just once a year before the winter comes. All that dirt and stains can not only ruin your deck’s appearance but also cause degrading.
- Removing Mold or Mildew Buildups
Mold and mildew buildups occur mostly during the winter after the deck was covered with snow for a couple of months. However, if you live in an area where there is constant rainfall or if you (or your family members) are clumsy and keep on spilling that water, mold or mildew buildups can occur at any time.
It is necessary to get rid of them to protect your deck this winter. If you ignore them, they can build up even more and cause great damage. Your deck might start to degrade and become weak. This may affect the safety of everybody using it.
For this step, you can buy some specialized mold and mildew remover from the hardware store. Or, you can also create your own cleaner. All you need is white vinegar. Mix one gallon of water with one cup of white vinegar and scrub your deck with a brush. Hopefully, this will clean your deck thoroughly.
- Apply a Sealant or a Protective Finish
The next step requires a completely clean deck. So, once again, remove everything from your deck and clean it thoroughly. Do not even think about leaving some larger items like a barbecue or an outdoor sofa on it. If removing everything from your deck seems like mission impossible, try calling a couple of friends to help you out with heavy lifting or even hiring a company like heartmoving.us to help you with storage.
Why is a clear and clean deck important for this step? Because if you miss some places while covering the deck with a sealant or a protective finish, you will either cause discoloration or end up having weaker spots on your deck. Thus, do your homework before applying sealants or finishes.
What a sealant or a protective finish will do is protect your deck from any moisture that can invade the wood and create splits, cracks, or warps.
- Cover Your Deck with Tarp
Snow, rain, and strong winds can cause great damage to your home and deck, no matter how much you protect it with sealants, waxes, and different finishes. It is impossible to keep cleaning and drying everything that fell on your deck during the autumn and winter months.
The best thing you can do is cover your deck with a tarp. Cover it as much as you can. This will create a barrier between snowfall and rainfall and your deck, and thus save it any damage.
But, be careful when installing tarp. If you never did it before, it might be a good idea to hire an expert. Otherwise, an improperly installed tarp may fall, block your entryway, cause damage to your deck and home, and, most importantly – it may hurt somebody.
If you want your deck to be a place where you create memories with your family and friends, relax after work, or an extra room during summers and springs, take care of it!
Doing that should not be hard. Just follow all our guidelines or talk to an expert who knows their way around outdoor spaces. If you do decide to use harsh chemicals on your deck, make sure to do your homework! As previously mentioned, not every cleaner will work well on your type of deck.
Finally, if you want your deck to serve you for years to come, improve the curb appeal of your home and, ultimately, increase the value of your home, make sure you spend time taking care of it a couple of times a year, not just before winter comes.
About The Author Angie Matthews has been working as an interior designer for the last 10 years. In her free time, she also writes remodeling, redecorating, and moving-related content for her blog. Angie is also a wife, a mother of one, and a dog owner. Some of her hobbies include jogging, cooking, and writing.
Photo by Im3rd Media on Unsplash
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